Data for helicopter operations within the London (Heathrow) and London City Control Zones (CTRs)
These statistics are for the purposes of monitoring general trends. Due to the nature of helicopter operations, and the way that these statistics are recorded, the numerical values will not always match.
About the CTRs
All helicopter flights in the London and London City Control Zones (CTRs) are subject to an Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearance due to the classification of airspace. Pilots navigate by visual reference to ground features with limited assistance from ATC and are responsible for ensuring that they fly in accordance with applicable Rules of the Air. Some of these rules are for the protection of third parties and the prevention of collisions, which include observing minimum weather conditions and selecting a safe height for flight that considers separation from obstacles (such as buildings and cranes) and the height of the ground.
For safety, operational and security reasons measures are in place that limit or constrain helicopter flights in some areas unless otherwise authorised. Some of these restrictions apply to all helicopters and some apply only to single-engine helicopters. Pre-determined routes have been established across the CTRs to assist with the integration of helicopter flights into the airspace, but it should be noted that pilots are often provided with an ATC clearance to transit through the airspace on more direct routings. In accepting an ATC clearance, the pilot still remains responsible for ensuring that they fly in accordance with applicable Rules of the Air.
The National Police Air Service (NPAS) and Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) operate multi-engine helicopters, but their operations are subject to special requirements associated with the nature of the tasks they are performing. Therefore, NPAS and HEMS helicopters may need to operate at lower altitudes or hold over specific locations. In some cases, they may also be exempt from the regulations mentioned above.
Graphical summary of London helicopter crossing statistics 2007-2022
London helicopter routes diagram
Chart extracted from the UK AIP